06 Aug 2016
Having survived a total of 16 months on the road together, I thought I’d finally tell the truth about my best friend. The friend that protected everything I loved and owned: My BlackWolf backpack. Here’s what I really think about it.
There’s an ocean’s worth of stuff you would like to bring when going on a trip, from the mini pharmacy to drinking bottles, from a small footwear collection to warm weather gear that also keeps you dry. Especially when you’re setting off on a longer trip, you’ll want to make sure that the things you bring are worthy of the precious backpack real estate space they take up. And whilst focusing on the multi-functional cargo pants that also double as a tent is important, there is nothing you should pay more attention to than the vessel that will carry all of those things. Your backpack.
In 2004 I set off on 7 months through the cities and rural areas of Europe. In 2013, I took that same bag on an 8 month journey through Central and South America. It is alive and well today and has survived many short trips in the meantime. Here’s why I loved my BlackWolf backpack so much.
The model is a BlackWolf 70 litre ‘Cancun’. It also comes in 80litre capacity and retails for around AUD$270.
FRONT ACCESS: The BlackWolf has a zip that allows front access to the main compartment. That means no stuffing your bag from the top or having to unpack the entire bag each time you need access to an item stuck in the bottom of the bag. This, for me, is really important feature distinguishing the backpack from the majority of others.
DETACHABLE DAYPACK: The BlackWolf backpack comes with a detachable daypack that can be zipped on the main bag, leaving you hands-free in the driver’s seat.
WEIGHT & CAPACITY: At just 2.3 kilos for a 70litre pack, it weighs very little when empty and you can allocate more weight to things you need on the road.
MATERIAL: The body of the backpack is made from a string poly weave material, which is durable. My pack never received a tear or any breakage in the material. The foot of the bag was covered in a non-porous, waterproof plastic meaning you could set it down in the wet without worrying that water would soak through.
HARNESS: The straps were an ergonomic, adjustable harness which you could loosen or tighten very easily whilst on the move. When you walk with your pack on for an extended period, this was often a welcome feature get some relief from the weight resting on your shoulders. The straps that fastened around your hip were well padded, which allowed me to walk for longer without experiencing any rubbing or soreness on my hips.
SHOULDER STRAP: If you’ve ever walked through an airport with a backpack, you’ll be familiar with the death stares and eye rolls you receive when you present your backpack. Straps can get caught on the conveyor belts and generally be a nuisance to luggage handlers. BlackWolf packs offer a flap that zips up around the harness, covering the straps entirely. It also stores a strap in an external compartment, which attaches at either end of the bag and turning the backpack into something that resembles a sports bag. A priceless feature, that made me no enemies amongst baggage handlers.
RAIN COVER: A small compartment on the top of the bag accesses a rain cover that fits the full length – so even if you might get wet in a downpour, your bag will not. An awesome feature that gives you peace of mind if a shower hits unexpectedly.
OTHER STUFF: What I loved about the inside of the bag is that there were two compartments. A smaller one at the bottom of the bag, which was great for dirty shoes and clothes, leaving everything in the main compartments dry and clean.
I still love this bag to this day. It’s feather light weight and easy front access were my favourite features and whilst many fellow travellers seemed to be suffering sore hips, I had no such complaints. If I were to need a new backpack, I wouldn’t hesitate in buying the same bag again.
08 Sep 2016 - Travel